AuthorsS. Grimstad, M. Jørgensen and K. J. Moløkken-Østvold
TitleSoftware Effort Estimation Terminology: the Tower of Babel
AfilliationSoftware Engineering, Software Engineering
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
JournalInformation and Software Technology

This paper provides a review of how software development effort estimation terms are used in software engineering textbooks and research papers. We found that the term {`}effort estimate' frequently is applied without any clarification of its meaning. It is therefore difficult to determine whether the authors' intended interpretation is an estimate of {`}most likely effort', {`}planned effort', {`}budgeted effort', or something else. This is problematic as these terms are not equivalent and are used for different purposes. The lack of clarity of {`}effort estimate' lowers the quality and interpretability of surveys on software effort estimation accuracy, i.e., it is not clear what the estimation accuracy results really mean. This reduces the estimation evaluation and learning possibilities. We suggest guidelines on how to reduce this terminology ambiguity. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first published review of software cost estimation terminology.

Citation KeyGrimstad.2006.1